Developer Artifex Mundi is back again with another puzzle adventure for the PlayStation 4! This time we're going to look at Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood which promises more of the same puzzles and hidden object murals the series is known for as it picks up the story left off in Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek.
Now, I've reviewed this style of puzzle games with a "2" in the title before (see our Nightmares from the Deep 2 review) and while I felt that you could safely play Nightmares from the Deep 2 without playing the first one, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you play through the first Enigmatis adventure before working through its sequel. Purely for story reasons, of course, as to get a better understanding of the game's overall story arc.
In Enigmatis 2, we continue our journey as the female detective from first game who learns of missing persons reports coming from the West Coast and decides to investigate, hoping the case is related somehow to those in Maple Creek. As you can imagine, the detective is caught up in the mysterious disappearance of a family near Ravenwood Heritage Park and left to figure out what exactly is going on.
The family you meet at the start of the game is a good hook for the mystery here (especially as you get to meet the daughter very early on) because it provides something to search for. As the story unfolds though, you'll meet a variety of shady characters. The park employees and its owner, a mysterious man moving about and my favorite, a locked-up inmate hiding in the tunnels underneath the park. Enigmatis 2 may be a sequel but it tells its own standalone tale with new characters all while maintaining a connection to the first game. This game's ending was particularly fantastic and leaves the door wide open for Enigmatis 3.
If you've played any of Artifex Mundi's games in the past, you will feel right at home. The majority of the gameplay consists of finding items in Ravenwood and deduce how to use them to solve puzzles and proceed to new areas. There are also various mini-games, often some sort of logic game or puzzle to solve, and Hidden Object scenes to solve. Fairly standard puzzle game play, honestly, but just the type of game play that puzzle lovers live for.
Enigmatis 2 brings the "Evidence Board" from the first game, which helps to set it apart from other games from the developer. As you play through the new, you'll find evidence pointing to what is happening in Ravenwood and information as to who the victims and perpetrators may be. These clues can be added to the evidence board but must be placed in the correct circles to piece the story together. One change I loved in Enigmatis 2 was assistance with the evidence board. The prisoner character can examine the board and help piece through the information logically. The way he looks at the evidence board is well-designed, as you see his eyes reflecting from a nearby saw blade stuck in the evidence board, an image that reminded me a bit of Hannibal Lecter. In exchange for the inmate's assistance, spheres can be tracked down and used to help prisoner escape. He'll shed light on Ravenwood park's past with each sphere he gets and give you necessary items to aid in further exploation. The developers use the same story-telling method in the Nightmares from the Deep games, but it works better here.
Graphically, Enigmatis 2 is the highlight of the series. With a game that's focused on environmental exploration (not to mention hidden object puzzles), good graphics are a MUST, and thankfully Enigmatis 2. There isn't much variety to be had in the game's environments, as it is comprised of mostly park trails, dark tunnels and various houses, but the locations are extremely detailed. There's also quite a bit of background animation throughout the game, which is definitely a nice touch.
The audio in the game is MOSTLY solid. The music is a bit repetitive but the tune is nice. It reminded me of the music you'd hear while exploring in a horror game: just odd enough to keep you on edge. The voice acting is where the audio becomes "mostly solid." Many of the voice actors rarely rise above average. The older male voice actors are pretty good, but the main female detective seriously needs to show more emotion (it's like she is reading from a script and never "reacting" like a normal human would). Between that and the repetitive tunes, the audio is definitely the weakest link in the game.
Like many Artifex Mundi titles, beating the game will unlock a bonus chapter that acts as a prequel, giving you another couple hours of gameplay (overall, you're looking at 10-12 hours here without a guide). The game also has two forms of collectibles you can search for as you play (butterflies and illusive objects), as well as two difficulty modes. You can also choose between "Hidden Object" puzzles throughout the game or a "Match Two" puzzle mode, which gives the game some degree re-playability, especially if you plan to go after all of the game's trophies (which will require two play-throughs). For what it's worth, this game is also EXCELLENT to play through with kids or family (the more eyes the better for hidden object games!).
I've played SEVEN of these Artifex Mundi games at this point (all since joining Darkstation as a reviewer) and I have to say that Enigmatis 2 is definitely my favorite among them. The graphics are excellent and the gameplay is just as good as the other titles, but it's the story that really shines here. If you're a fan of the puzzle genre (and ideally have played the first Enigmatis game...), then Enigmatis 2 is very easy to recommend.
It's good to meet you! I'm better known online as "Bkstunt_31" and have been writing Reviews and video game Strategy Guides/Walkthroughs for WAY too many years! Feel free to stop my my Facebook page and say hello! Have fun and keep playing!